Seth’s prediction that Ian’s world used magic seemed to only be proven more as the zombie and vampire double pair made their way down a narrow hallway from the bedroom chamber and into the next room. What the next room actually was remained a mystery even after the four of them stood in the middle of it for a moment and tried to make sense of what they saw. A large white, rectangular box split into a smaller upper half and larger lower half rested against the wall. Another strange white box, this one squarer shaped with four identical metal spirals on top. The only recognizable elements were a tiny table and chair set, wooden cabinet doors lining the wall over the square box, and what appeared to be a washbasin with no water in it.
“I believe this must be Ian’s dining area or perhaps the kitchen,” mused Deigen, strolling over to one of the cabinets and opening it. His fangs drooped over his chin as he stood pondering the boxes of cereal, canned spaghetti sauce, and other mysteries he’d never seen. “Or perhaps a pantry of some sort?”
“If any of those are true,” V raised a pointed finger at the rectangular box. “What do you suppose that is?”
Deigen left the open cabinet with its oddities and moved over to open the lower half of the box. His fangs drooped even further. “It looks like a miniature ice house of some sort.” He closed the door and opened it again about five or six times before slowly opening it once again and staring at the tiny source of illumination inside the box. “And it has a little lantern on the roof there that lights up the whole thing whenever I open this door. Seth, you’re right, they do use magic here!”
“Wait a minute, that’s not magic.” Seth looked over the vampire’s shoulder. “I saw glowing orbs like that in Simone’s house when I first met her. She invented them using pictures from that journal Albert’s father wrote, the one with otherworldly creations. I think it’s called a light bulb.”
“But how does it work?” V poked his head halfway inside the box to further inspect the light bulb. “What makes it glow?”
“Well, Simone powered hers somehow with a bunch of potatoes.” Seth shrugged as both vampires turned their mesmerized stares to him. “Don’t ask me how she made that actually work.”
A garbled snarling noise quickly reminded the three monsters that their fourth member was still among them and also still had half his head stuck inside a shirt. He bumped into the table and stumbled sideways toward Seth. His fellow zombie let out a heavy sigh and jerked the shirt off while helping Wymer regain his balance. He let out another sigh as he turned back to the vampires and found them both now inspecting the ice house’s contents. “Nothing we need is going to be in there,” he said flatly.
“But this is an entirely different world from ours, Seth, full of wonders we may never see again.” V picked up a package of processed cheese slices and sniffed it curiously. “It can’t hurt to look.”
“Can’t hurt to look?” Seth grabbed hold of Wymer by the hood of his cloak as he started to stumble off again. “Then why is the floor in that other room we just left covered in water?”
“That was just the first room we’d ever been in and now we’re better oriented,” argued Deigen, pulling a bottle of brown liquid from the bottom shelf. “See, this is a bottle of dark ale just like we drink back home.”
Seth raised a brow. “That doesn’t look like any bottle of anything I’ve ever seen. Doesn’t even look like glass.”
“It’s not.” Deigen matched his expression as he pressed his fingers against the bottle. “Odd. It’s clear like glass but feels like it’s flexible here in the middle.”
“Who cares what the bottle is made of?” V gave Deigen a nudge with his elbow. “I love a good ale, pull the cork and let’s try it!”
“No, don’t try it!” Seth pointed at the ice house’s bottom shelf. “Put that bottle of whatever it is back before we cause any more damage.”
“Grrraaagggh!” growled Wymer as if he were opposed as well.
“Seth, it’s fine.” Deigen began pulling on the bottle’s white cork. “There’s no possible way trying some of Ian’s cuisine could cause problems.” The vampire frowned at finding his supernatural strength remained defeated by the cork. He shook the bottle vigorously and continued trying to pry it off with no success.
V studied the cork for a moment. “Looks like it has ridges on the side. Maybe you’re supposed to twist that off?”
“Hmmm.” Deigen shook the bottle again before giving up. “Maybe so.” He gripped the cork and twisted, an action that elicited a strange hissing noise from the bottle.
Seth immediately began taking several steps back with Wymer. The ominous hissing noise at least made V step back as well. In fact the only one who remained in dangerous proximity of the bottle as its entire contents sprayed out like a berserk fountain were the bottle holder himself.
“That,” Deigen spit out a mouthful of the brown liquid that now covered half his shirt and formed a strange fizzing puddle around his boots, “was definitely not ale.”